# Contents

## Idea

The notion of quantaloid is the horizontal categorification of that of quantale: a quantaloid is a quantale with many objects.

## Definition

A quantaloid is a category enriched in the closed symmetric monoidal category of suplattices. Equivalently, it may be defined as a locally posetal bicategory in which each hom-poset is cocomplete, and which admits right adjoints to composing with an arrow on either side (making it a (bi)closed bicategory).

Taking the view that a quantaloid $Q$ is a closed bicategory, one can study categories enriched in $Q$. This can become particularly interesting if $Q$ is a $*$-quantaloid, i.e., comes equipped with an involution $*: Q \to Q$ which is the identity on 0-cells, reverses the direction of 1-cells, and preserves the direction of 2-cells. In that case one can study $*$-enriched categories over $Q$, i.e., $Q$-categories

$(X, p: X \to Q_0, d: X \times X \to Q_1)$

for which $d(y, x) = d(x, y)^*$. A famous example, due to R.F.C. Walters, is given below.

## Examples of quantaloids

Despite the exotic-sounding name (a portmanteau of quantale and groupoid, i.e., a many-object quantale), quantaloids are quite commonplace.

• Let $E$ be a Grothendieck topos. Then the bicategory of relations in $E$, $Rel(E)$, is a quantaloid.

A toy form of this example: take any frame $H$, and considering the bicategory of spans in $H$: this is evidently a quantaloid, $Span(H)$.

Here is a particularly rich source of examples. Let $Q$ be a quantale. Then there is a quantaloid $Q$-$Mat$ of $Q$-valued matrices:

• Objects are sets $X$;

• Morphisms $X \to Y$ are functions $M: X \times Y \to Q$.

Matrix composition is performed according to the usual rule

$(M N)(x, z) = \sum_{y: Y} M(x, y) \cdot N(y, z)$

where $\cdot$ is the multiplication of $Q$ and the sum is the sup in $Q$. This class of examples easily internalizes in a topos, and in that sense it subsumes the first example, $Rel(E)$, by taking $Q = \Omega$ (as an internal frame, hence a quantale).

Slightly more generally, if $Q$ is a quantal_oid_, there is a quantaloid $Q$-$Mat$ of $Q$-matrices, as follows:

• Objects are sets $X$ together with functions $p: X \to Q_0$;

• Morphisms $(X, p) \to (Y, q)$ are matrices $M: X \times Y \to Q_1$ that satisfy the typing constraint $M(x, y): p(x) \to q(y)$.

Composition works exactly as before.

## Examples of $*$-quantaloids

The examples in the preceding section carry over straightforwardly:

• For $E$ a Grothendieck topos, $Rel(E)$ is a $*$-quantaloid where the $*$-operator takes a relation from $X$ to $Y$, i.e., a subobject $i: R \hookrightarrow X \times Y$, to its opposite obtained by composing $i$ with the symmetry isomorphism $X \times Y \cong Y \times X$.

Next, let $Q$ be a $*$-quantale. The quantaloid $Q$-$Mat$ is as before; this becomes a $*$-quantaloid by defining the transpose of a matrix as

• $M^*(x, y) = (M(y, x))^*$

This easily carries over to the case where we start with a $*$-quantaloid $Q$: we similarly obtain a $*$-quantaloid $Q$-$Mat$, by defining transpose as above.

## Connection with Q-valued sets

Let $Q$ again be a $*$-quantale; for example, $Q$ could be a frame or it could be a commutative quantale, taking the involution to be the identity.

A $Q$-valued set consists of a set $X$ and a morphism $M: X \to X$ in $Q$-$Mat$ which is

• Symmetric: $M^* = M$,

• Idempotent: $M \circ M = M$

In the case where $Q = \Omega$, the subobject classifier in a topos with its locale structure, symmetry and idempotence of a relation is equivalent to the a priori weaker condition of symmetry and transitivity. The reason is that $Q$-$Mat = Rel(E)$ is an allegory, where the modular law holds, one of whose consequences is the inequality $M \leq M M^* M$. As a result, we have

$M \leq M M^* M \stackrel{sym}{=} M M M \stackrel{trans}{\leq} M M$

which together with transitivity guarantees idempotence.

Thus, symmetric idempotents in $Rel(E)$ are what are known as partial equivalence relations (which differ from equivalence relations by dropping reflexivity), or PERs for short.

To be continued

Revised on July 15, 2010 00:16:02 by Toby Bartels (75.117.111.22)